Oprah Goes to India

So Oprah trooped into one of our vintage slums to meet a family — parents and three children — who live in a 10×10 feet room. Now I’m not surprised that Oprah was surprised to see an entire family living in such tiny quarters. Although I’m sure she could find cramped ghettos in the States. What surprised me was the amazing lack of sensitivity to the children’s feelings or the feelings of the parents who’d opened up their home to her. All the children go to school, and were extremely well-mannered and seemed happy and quite carefree like children their age are meant to be. They didn’t seem to realise that their home was smaller than the homes of others. Or that their father didn’t earn as much as he could.

But not for long. Once Oprah got through with them, they must have committed seppuku.

She asked the children how they could live in such a “tiny” room and actually wanted to know, “Don’t you feel it’s too cramped?” She also asked the six-year-olds whether they were happy. Which must have made them wonder why they shouldn’t be. She then interrogated the father about whether he was happy and satisfied. He got teary-eyed and said that he wished he could earn more and provide for a more comfortable life for his children. After making him weep in front of his family, Oprah said that she knows how awful it is for children to see their father weep.

Here’s a “rich person goes to a poor region, and doesn’t understand how poor people live the way they do” piece on the Indian news site Firstpost that makes me a bit confused on my idea of who Oprah actually is. Is she really as ignorant as this article makes her out to be?

I was always under the impression that as a rich person who grew up as a poor black woman who made a name for herself by creating a good talk show that discussed social and geopolitical issues, she’d be able to go to a country and talk about race and class without infuriating everyone.

I also think that Oprah knows that she is good at pulling on people’s heartstrings, so she intentionally made a father cry in front of his family in an effort to make viewers feel something. That’s TV for you. I mean, the lady should know that it sucks to have poverty rubbed in your face:

She began going to Lincoln High School; but after early success in the Upward Bound program, was transferred to the affluent suburban Nicolet High School, where she says her poverty was constantly rubbed in her face as she rode the bus to school with fellow African-Americans, some of whom were servants of her classmates’ families.

That’s from Wikipedia, sourced from a book about Oprah’s life. Anyway, I expect more from you, Oprah!

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